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Old 05-06-2017, 09:06 PM   #1
sbd
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Advice needed on stripping/Polish or re-clearcoating a 2008 Airstream

I have recently acquired my first Airstream! Unfortunately, it has large vinyl graphics covering 1/3 of the exterior and are baked on from years in the sun. My first preference would be to remove the vinyl and leave no evidence of vinyl remaining. But I have been told it is too baked on. I am hoping someone has stripped a newer AS and can give advice? Secondly, hoping to find out if and how to re-clearcoat entire outside?
Airstream is in So Cal. It is a rare unit that came from the factory with two doors.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:55 PM   #2
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I don't know the answer to this question, but I'd like to. I have a 1991 Limited that I'd like to have striped, lightly polished and re-clear coated. It doesn't seem like there are a lot of resources for this. I don't want to have my trailer polished so that it looks like chrome and must be maintained that way.
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Old 01-26-2020, 05:07 PM   #3
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I want to give this thread a bump. Does anyone know of a shop that will strip, lightly polish and clear-coat a trailer? Alternately, I've considered striping, prepping and painting my trailer (1991 34' Limited).

Thanks,

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Old 07-29-2020, 09:10 PM   #4
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Interested too if anyone has done this. Mine is a 2004 Classic.
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:58 PM   #5
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There are very few places that will clear coat a trailer. P and S in Ohio is one.

https://www.pandstrailerservice.com/
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Old 10-22-2020, 09:22 PM   #6
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There are very few places that will clear coat a trailer. P and S in Ohio is one.

https://www.pandstrailerservice.com/
I've talked to P&S on the phone about this. Although they were the leader in re- clearcoating, they don't do it any longer. They still strip and polish trailers, but they said that no one produces the coating any longer.
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:35 PM   #7
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Paint it.

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Old 11-14-2020, 07:51 PM   #8
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Thank you for re-opening this thread. I am working on purchasing a new to me 1998 Excella 1000 30 that will need to be polished as it has been sitting for 12 years. I was hoping to have it re-clear coated. As I don't know, it is the same type of clear coat used in regular automotive painting?
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Old 11-15-2020, 08:42 AM   #9
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The clear coat (Plastikote) used on early trailers was relatively flexible so that the expansion/contraction of aluminum would not cause it to fail.

Automotive clear coat is more rigid as steel does not significantly change dimension with temperature. It really is not compatible with our trailers.
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:50 AM   #10
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Pictures help alot
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbd View Post
I have recently acquired my first Airstream! Unfortunately, it has large vinyl graphics covering 1/3 of the exterior and are baked on from years in the sun. My first preference would be to remove the vinyl and leave no evidence of vinyl remaining. But I have been told it is too baked on. I am hoping someone has stripped a newer AS and can give advice? Secondly, hoping to find out if and how to re-clearcoat entire outside?
Airstream is in So Cal. It is a rare unit that came from the factory with two doors.
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Old 11-28-2020, 06:33 AM   #11
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Pictures help alot


Use a 3m eraser wheel. Soft rubber wheel for your drill you find it at West Marine. Takes it right up. Chemicals will effect/discolor the clear coat.
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Old 11-28-2020, 07:38 AM   #12
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Matte Aluminum Finish

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bryant View Post
I don't know the answer to this question, but I'd like to. I have a 1991 Limited that I'd like to have striped, lightly polished and re-clear coated. It doesn't seem like there are a lot of resources for this. I don't want to have my trailer polished so that it looks like chrome and must be maintained that way.
Steve, I have a 1966 Airstream and wanted the same, matte look. I know there was a switch in the aluminum and coating in the late 80's so do research before you try these techniques - that's what I did - and the result was the finish I was hoping to achieve.

I completely stripped, using the environmentally safe orange stripper stuff and thick white, all cotton, commercial grade rags - I bought the ones that have a bit of nub to the cotton. I also used white 3M pads to remove the gunk and the finer scratches. Work in very small sections, running the pad with the grain of the aluminum until the coating is all removed.

Then I VERY lightly finished the entire surface with Grade 0000 steel wool - I use the Liberon brand because of its ultra fine strands and because it does not have any oil in it, like the brands you buy in the big box stores. In full disclosure, there are very knowledgeable people on the Forums who say they "wouldn't let a piece of steel wool near [their] trailer" - and I can get that. You must take care to remove all the particles, so again, working in small sections allows for that level of control. I never had any rusting issues such as those reported in certain threads, and the surface has a [fairly] consistent matte finish. BTW: Before embarking on this labor intensive project, I did call a few reputable polishing companies to ask if there was a sander/polisher that would enable me to keep the matte finish, but all said it would result in the high gloss shine -- which is STUNNING when done right, but I want to camp in Flo (my trailer), not be polishing her all the time.

I then washed everything using the Walbernize products. This year, I plan to Walbernize the entire trailer (after redoing the sanding work due to scratching over winter), and then apply a coat of Griot polish. I like the look that it produces.

My trailer is 17' - the above took me 4 weekends (2 full days each) to get it done. Bottom line is, slow and steady - the result to me is authentic because it restores the finish to the way my trailer came off the assembly line.

Hope this is of help to you. Happy to send more shots, but I think the attached will give you an idea.
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Old 11-28-2020, 07:43 AM   #13
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Steamer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbd View Post
I have recently acquired my first Airstream! Unfortunately, it has large vinyl graphics covering 1/3 of the exterior and are baked on from years in the sun. My first preference would be to remove the vinyl and leave no evidence of vinyl remaining. But I have been told it is too baked on. I am hoping someone has stripped a newer AS and can give advice? Secondly, hoping to find out if and how to re-clearcoat entire outside?
Airstream is in So Cal. It is a rare unit that came from the factory with two doors.
SBD, I would buy a steamer and go with that first. I would take any remaining goo off with mineral spirits. As noted above, there likely will be a difference in the color of the aluminum that was under the stickers and that which was exposed to the elements. I don't know if this works, or if it could/should be used on the aluminum of an Airstream, but there is a product made just for this "ghosting" issue - aptly named, "Ghost-Off." You might want to call the manufacturer to see if it would in any way harm your aluminum finish. I'd be interested in hearing what you learn, as I have one old sticker on the back of my trailer that has definitely seen better days.

Good luck and congrats on your trailer.
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